Former city clerk admits to stealing $180,000 from small town taxpayers
Published 8:56 am Monday, August 26, 2019
A Mississippi woman pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling more than $180,000 in public funds while working as a city clerk.
Former Ecru City Clerk Gretchin Moody appeared Friday before Pontotoc County Circuit Court Judge Kelly Mims and entered an open plea of guilty to embezzlement by a public official, Attorney General Jim Hood and State Auditor Shad White announced jointly.
An open plea means the defendant pleaded without a recommendation of the state and instead threw herself on the mercy of the court.
Moody, 47, was indicted by a Pontotoc County Grand Jury in September 2017 on three counts of embezzlement by a public official. At the time of the crimes, from January 2012 through March 2016, she took the money that was being paid as fines and converted the money to her own use. During that time, she was also making purchases for herself using city of Ecru’s BancorpSouth Bank credit card, and she was giving herself extra pay checks.
Judge Mims sentenced Moody to serve 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with 10 years suspended, five years on house arrest followed by five years of post-release supervision on count one.
For count two, Moody was sentenced to 20 years suspended running consecutively to count one. For count three, she was sentenced to 20 years suspended to run consecutively to counts one and two. Moody is also required to pay back $183,144.28 in restitution within the five years of house arrest. She paid $75,000 of the restitution today leaving a remaining balance of $108,144.28. A total of $35,043.64 of that amount is owed to the State Auditors Office for investigative costs and $73,100.64 will be paid to the city of Ecru.
“I’m thankful for the agents in my office, along with the other law enforcement offices and prosecutors, who brought Ms. Moody’s case to a conclusion,” said State Auditor Shad White. “Her role in embezzling funds from the people of Ecru was inexcusable, and she needed to be held accountable.”
“We thank the agents of the State Auditor’s Office for their hard work resulting in the discovery of the substantial amount of money that was wrongfully taken from the city by the defendant,” Attorney General Hood said.
The case was investigated by the State Auditor’s Office. Prosecution was handled by Special Assistant Attorney Marvin Sanders of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.